|There's a reason why we should travel more often and it's because experiences are so valuable to us!
After our London, England trip, my siblings, friend and I rode the Euro Star train from London to Paris, France. What a completely different country in just one ride of a train! Now Paris is known as the city of Romance and I would like to think that way, despite the fact that I've heard several people say that the French are notorious for having a somewhat rough attitude. When my siblings and I first got off on our train, we tried to get an Uber ride for us to go directly to the hotel. Already outside the area of Eurostar there were cab drivers trying to overprice us with their taxis at 60 Euros when the average Uber ride was more or less around 20 Euros to get to the hotel! Eventually we got two Uber drivers to help us get around the area. This was the first sign that the French I studied in grade school and college had to be put to good use! It was and is still a challenge to this day, but the effort is appreciated!
|Our arrival in Paris was so surprising! Already some amazing buildings!
|We love our bread. We love our butter. But most of all, we love each other!
On our first day, we booked a photoshoot to do with this tour group called Localers Paris where you can book your own private tour to see the tourist districts in better detail. While on our way to the meeting point, we decided to have coffee and croissant somewhere around Paris. We ordered and I spoke a bit of French and we said to have our stuff for "take-away" or takeout. Some of us decided to sit and have a smoke outside, and the waiters started to lecture us! One thing we did not know in France was that if you want to smoke outside with your drink, you HAVE TO order your food and drink for dine in and then pay the bill because there is a service charge when you want to go outside for a smoke! The service charge outside is higher than inside because the servers will have to clean up your ashtray of cigarettes! So after getting being told by the server and apologizing, we learned to do the habit of saying dine in if we wanted to sit outside! I know in many places in Philippines like in Starbucks, the baristas don't care if you sit outside for a smoke, even if you ordered your drink for takeout. But in Paris, it is not acceptable! So it was an embarassing lesson to learn if ever you come here, but a big lesson in how different our cultures are! Get accustomed to their culture and respect it even if you don't speak French. They will appreciate you for that.
|It feels so good to be at the park around the Eiffel Tower area! It was a good weather!
|I live my day as if it was the last. Live my day as if there was no past. Doin' it all night, all summer. Doin' it the way I wanna!
|We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us! I explore to meet people and get inspired again!
My sister in law said to us that Paris changed A LOT since the last time she went there, which was years ago! There are now more Asians living and working there. There was at least one Asian employee in every branded shop to cater to tourists such as the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. We even encountered two Filipinos working in Paris, but we'll get to that later! Anyways, we took photos with Fernanda all around Paris from the streets riding a bike, to the Louvre Museum area, until we reached the Eiffel Tower. That was the moment we were in complete shock at how beautiful it was: Tour Eiffel. As you can see from the photos, it really sets up an amazing view. That view you see from thousands of other sites and post cards is now your view for real! We took many photos there by the park. From lying down on the grass to posing by the seating area, it was so surreal. We got to see many people like couples about to get married and other tourists posing by the Louvre Museum and by the park across the Eiffel Tower. It was so magical. Inquire at the Localers Paris about setting up a photoshoot if you are interested! You won't be the only one there though. Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world! At this point, you can really imagine how happy we were when we got to take pictures around there. A world class view and a world class atmosphere!
|With our Brazilian photographer Fernanda! These seats are set up like that so that you can get a view of the area around you!
|We got inspired to do this by The Beatles just crossing a random street in Paris! Thank you again Fernanda!
|Steak Tartare! So good! We ordered this in Paris A LOT! It's worth trying!
My sisters and I decided to try eating at a random restaurant somewhere and we just checked Trip Advisor online. We went to two places, but I guess the waitresses were too afraid or not interested to serve us, so we just decided to go to a Deli shop to get takeout sandwiches. Now in France, trying to speak their language really helps. If there are servers who do not want to accomodate you, just go and move on to the next one. As much as possible, try to avoid conflict in a foreign country. In the Deli Shop, we were about to be declined by the shop owner, until I started speaking to her in French saying: "Excusez-moi Madame. Aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît." (Excuse me, Mrs. Help me, please.) And then finally, she asked her assistant to accomodate us! The assistant was very kind and patient with us and we finally got our food! She was shocked and asked where did I learn French? And all I said was that I studied French in Philippines! You see? A little bit of effort of speaking their language goes a long way! So don't be afraid to make a mistake speaking French because it really does make a difference!
|Look at how beautiful the ceiling of their churches are! You can really tell that these structures were made out of love!
One place in Paris that I recommend for shopping for branded stuff like Adidas, Marks and Spencer or Louis Vuitton is Champs Élysées. This is the area to go to if you want to wine, dine, and shop like freak as much as possible in Paris because most of the shops accomodate foreigners and even have tax-free options or tax-back options there! This is also the area where you will get a close look on another popular structure in Paris: Arc De Triomphe! We went to this area for almost every night when we were in Paris because my sisters are shopaholics! This was one of the areas where we got souvenirs, new clothes and what not! There is even a supermarket in this area so when you're in Paris, visit this area please! You will even be entertained by the street performers there dancing or singing! Just be extra careful with your valuables as Paris is also notorious for having gypsies and several crooks just waiting to target tourists and what not.
|This patisserie has one of the best baguettes in all of France so it's worth visiting! Their pastries tastes so good!
The next day, we started another tour my sisters set up from Localers Paris again. This time we met a very friendly American man living in Paris who was our tour guide! His name is Corey Frye and he blogs and arranges tours for groups in Paris at his blog: A French Frye in Paris. He is happily married to a French woman and when we met him, he was expecting his first child! Really, this man is practically French since he speaks the language and knows so much about Culture Française! =) Other tourists with us were a couple from Australia and a woman from San Francisco, CA! We toured all around the churches in Paris and even showed up a wonderful bakery that had fantastic pastries! Corey really explains the churches and districts in full detail so you may see a beautiful place, but you won't know the history behind it unless Corey explains to you how the church or town area came to be. Trust me, his tour program is very much worth it and we really enjoyed!
|One of my favorite French cuisine dishes while studying culinary in college: Boeuf Bourguignon. This was at the lovely Les Philosophes!
After we finished our tour, Corey recommended that we try out this well-known restaurant in Paris called Les Philosophes at Le Marais. We decided to dine outside since some of us were smoking and wanted to feel the breeze outside as well. Now in case your waiter does not speak English or understand, make an effort to learn some of their language by saying something like "What do you recommend today?" in French. To say that, it's: "Qu'est ce que vouz recommandez aujourd'hui?" To say "Can I have a menu", it's: "Est-ce que je peux voir la carte?" And finally to say "Bill, please!", it's "L'addition, s'il vous plait." A little effort of speaking the language and understanding their way of doing things is very much appreciated! We ordered Steak Tartare (Again!), Duck Confit, Boeuf Bourgignon, and Le Cheesecake. And they were all delightful and delicious! If in case you have a difficult time understanding the waiter, just say "Menu Anglais, s'il vous plait." Just be respectful as much as possible and you'll be fine! I love the feeling of being in a different environment. Glad I experienced Paris!
|This Duck Confit was crispy and delicious! Something worth trying when in Paris!
In the morning after that tour, we met up with another tour guide. Also American, but now living in Paris, her name is Kate Robinson. She toured us around some amazing pastry shops as well as a deli shop, and a cheese shop from Corsica! The first two pastry shops had some unusual yet delicious pastries! As for someone obsessed with chocolate and strawberries, I naturally chose the ones containing those! But of course, I always ask the person selling it which one do they recommend. We also tried a chocolatier for some samples as well as this crispy meringue pastry shop with a delicious cream filling. If there's one thing I love about Paris, it's their pastries! You cannot go wrong when you are using pure European butter and the freshest cream out there! What a winner!
|When you are using pure high quality chocolate, fruits and European butter, you know you'll have something special!
Now, Kate brought us to a wonderful deli shop where we got to try not only cold cuts, but all varieties of Foie Gras or fattened duck liver. French people know how to enjoy their food! Simplicity, but using the best, high quality ingredients is what makes French food taste so delicious! I really loved the jam and foie gras spreads that they provided! Simple with just a seasoning of salt enjoyed on top of bread with some fine wine! My sisters indulged in coffee and wine almost all the time we were in Paris! It had the tendency to be a bit expensive, but when you're in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it will be worth it because it's not always you can say that you went to Europe. Unless you are from Europe! So within your capabilities, try to enjoy and get memorable experiences from it!
|These meringue treats are crispy on the outside and nice and creamy on the inside! Absolutely divine!
Now something that you may have to understand is that as much as possible, make sure your currencies are not a 100 or even a 500 Euro Bill because a lot of the times, the average European uses only 10, 20, and 50 Euro Bills with the coins. They need the small cash to give change to others and you provide them a 500 Euro Bill, most likely you will encounter them declining it and asking you to have it changed at the nearest bank! Thank goodness the Deli Shop, Dubernet Foie Gras had an assistant that changed my 500 Euro Bill to smaller cash! The cold cuts, jams, cheese, and foie gras patés were delicious! I have found a new appreciation for foie gras!
|These cold cuts go so well with red wine along with the cheese on a slice of baguette! C'est delicieux!
After Dubernet, we went to Rue de Grenelle to a very intimate cheese shop that sells goat's cheese from Corisa, France. If you're wondering where Corsica is, it's a small island part of France where the well known Napoleon Bonaparte is from! This island of France has some amazing cheese that can range from mild and creamy to extremely powerful and pungent! Definitely not for the faint-hearted! They are definitely an acquired taste, especially to those where cheese is not common in their culture. Trust me, I love cheese, but even I had a difficult time tasting and swallowing the various kinds of goat's cheese! The owner was very kind and accomodating to us! He showed us which one complemented the wine and cold cuts we had, as well as which are suitable for savory dishes! You would someone who consumes a lot of cheese would be overweight, but the cheese shop owner was not! Very healthy and alive! He chuckled when we said that to him, along with his daughter and nephew in the store! This cheese shop is located at Rue de Grenelle in Paris!
|He not only sells goat's cheese, but wine, spices and goat's milk as well! Kate and him were very helpful in educating us about it!
There were cheeses that were mild and creamy that we actually liked. But there was one cheese where almost all of us could not tolerate it! My sister best described it as tasting like burnt balloons! We finished our wine just so that we could remove the taste! It was so strong that we could not handle it! It will take some time to fully appreciate something like that! Overall, we loved the goat cheese so much that we decided to get some and to bring some of it home! This type of cheese is fantastic in a sandwich or as topping for any dish or to be paired with red or white wine! I love the mild flavor of goat cheese on top of pizza or salad! Anyway, Kate Robinson is a great tour guide! We found out about her, Fernanda, and Corey from Localers Paris. There are many selections of walks and private tours you can do in Paris if ever you want a closer detail on where to go or what the place is about! More about Paris will be on my next post as I feel my time there had too many beautiful things to be featured in just one write up! It really is an amazing city with so much beautiful artworks, architecture, food and pastries. Make it worthwhile by going there at least once in your life! =)
|These are the goat cheese samples with cold cuts, red wine, and some lemon and orange jam to clean the palate. The first two cheeses on top were so strong and pungent, but the last two were delicious!
|Just a compilation of the places we went to taste, eat, and drink! Oh, what a beautiful life!